Thornton Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Thornton, Texas
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.2 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 7 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 8 hours per day
If you put your solar powered math calculator in your backpack it will turn off from the lack of sunlight needed to power the device. As you slowly open your backpack and begin to let sunlight in, the calculator will eventually turn on when the amount of sunlight is enough to power the calculator. Similarly, peak sun hours refer to the hours of they day where the sunlight is strong enough to power a solar panel. This is different from total sunlight hours, which is simply the amount of hours in a day when there is any sunlight.
The latitude at the equator of the earth is zero degrees. This is where sunlight strikes the earth most directly. Due to the earth's curved shape, sunlight hits at a various angles depending on location. As latitude increases, the further you are located from the equator and more variance you see in sunlight hours. The latitude of Thornton is 31.4.
Since a fixed solar panel is set in one position it is ideal to place it at an angle that will expose the panel to the most sunlight throughout the year. This angle is generally the same angle of your latitude which is 31.4 for Thornton. You do not need to strategically place a 1-axis or 2-axis panel as much as you do a fixed panel. A 1-axis panel follows the movement of the sun during the day. Additionally, a 2-axis panel also adjusts for the suns various positions in the sky throughout the year.
Climate in your geographical region is a major factor that will influence average peak sun hours per year. If you live in a region that does not have a lot of completely sunny days, then cloud coverage will greatly influence solar insolation on any given day. Mountains and trees may also contribute to lower solar insolation if they block the sun from your panels at any given point of the day.
Since we know the latitude of Thornton we can take the average amount of total sunlight hours and estimate that with a fixed solar panel there would be an average of 5.2 peak sun hours per day. 7 hours per day with a 1-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun from sunrise to sunset, and 8 hours with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.